Hey, Remember the Olympics?

Hosting the Olympics is a monumental undertaking that often leaves behind rusted stadiums and financial losses. So why do nations compete to do it? This episode examines the political history of the games, and the soft power that countries hope to gain by hosting them.

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Host
  • Gabrielle Sierra
    Podcast Host and Producer
Episode Guests
  • Jules Boykoff
    Professor of Political Science, Pacific University
  • Katharine Moon
    Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College

Show Notes

The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have been postponed, but Japan is still working around the clock to preserve them. And they aren’t alone in their zeal. Despite mounting evidence that hosting the games leads to bloated budgets and white elephant infrastructure, the soft-power appeal of the Olympics lives on. In this episode, experts weigh in on the geopolitical role of the global games, and discuss whether lighting the torch on your own turf is worth the investment.

 

From CFR

 

Andrew Zimbalist on Costs of the Olympics,” James M. Lindsay, The President’s Inbox

 

The Economics of Hosting the Olympic Games,” James McBride

 

China’s Olympic Nightmare,” Elizabeth Economy, Foreign Affairs

 

Will South Korea's Olympic Diplomacy Last?,” Scott A. Snyder

 

The Mixed Record of Sports Diplomacy,” Eleanor Albert and Jonathan Grix


Read More

 

The Olympics are political. The IOC ban denies reality—and athletes their voice.,” Jules Boykoff, NBC

 

The Tokyo Olympics’ Staggering Price Tag and Where It Stands in History,” Wall Street Journal 

 

As Covid Cases Hit Record High in Tokyo, Can the Olympic Bubble Hold?,” New York Times

 

How Olympians Are Fighting to Put Athletes' Mental Health First,” TIME

 

Skipping the Olympics is ‘not an option’ for many advertisers,” New York Times

 

Olympic Protest Rules: Tweets Are Fine, Kneeling Is Not,” New York Times

 

The Olympics Have Always Been Political,” Atlantic 

 

The Solution to Beijing’s Soft-Power Deficit Is Staring It in the Face,” Foreign Policy 

 

Olympic athletes are banned from protesting at Tokyo Games, IOC says,” Business Insider

 

From unfazed to unprecedented: Inside the decision to postpone the Olympics,” Washington Post

 

The Coronavirus and the Postponement of the Olympics, Explained,” New York Times

 

The Rise and Fall of Soft Power,” Foreign Policy


Watch or Listen

 

Politics and the Olympics,” Guardian 

 

18 Times Politics Trumped Sport in Olympic Games’ History,” Global Citizen

 

Why Hosting The Olympics Isn’t Worth It Anymore,” Business Insider

 

The story behind this iconic Olympics protest,” Vox

 

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been postponed to 2021,” CNN 

 

Olympics Meets Politics,” New York Times    

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